Hold Your Breath

I put an hour and fifteen minutes on the meter. Fifteen minutes for each quarter; cheaper than UCLA metered parking even though I was in Beverly Hills. I figured it should be plenty of time. My appointment was for three and it was only 2:37 pm.

In the waiting room I filled out the requisite forms listing known allergies and emergency contacts. As I filled out my forms, I heard at least two other people in the waiting room say that they had three o'clock appointments as well. This could be a bad sign. There were no clocks in the room. It was like waiting at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before customers could pay online.

At 3:30pm, I turned on my cell phone again, in spite of posted requests that cell phones should be turned off. I decided to go "feed the meter" as women in the waiting room shared the US magazines they'd brought with them in anticipation of the wait.

Upon my return, the woman who'd checked in just after me smiled my way as she exited the office. Her appointment time had been three also. I asked the receptionist if I'd be seen soon. At 4pm, my name was finally called along with one other woman. A third followed just after us as we changed in the dressing rooms. Both women were called into the xray room before I was. I was the last woman standing--so to speak.

When it was finally my turn, I had to explain to the technician that it was my first mammogram. She took two xrays of each breast as I held my torso in the most uncomfortable positions imaginable. I felt as if I was competing on America's Next Top Model and working with a famous fashion photographer.

Each time the machine clamped down on either side of my breast, the technician instructed, "hold your breath" from behind the safety glass in the corner of the room. I couldn't help but wonder why she needed a safety glass to protect her from what I was being exposed to without one. I asked, "how many times per day do you think you say, 'hold your breath'?" She chuckled. I did the math in my head. She says it four times per patient (two times per breast). She just saw three of us in five minutes. Four times three equals twelve. Twelve times every five minutes for at least eight hours per day if not more!

I put my clothes on and dropped my comment card at the reception desk on the way out. I wondered if there would ever come a day when a medical visit wouldn't feel like a long wait at the DMV. I smiled wryly as I heard the xray technician drone in my head, "hold your breath."


Kimestry said…
Your blogs are very insightful and meaningful. I also appreciate the diversity of your messages. Keep up the great work.
Carol said…
Hilarious. At least the technician didn't say "cough."


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